While North America maintains a leadership position in antifreeze and coolants used for consumer and commercial applications, Asia-Pacific takes the lead for the factory-fill business. According to data from the Antifreeze and Coolants 2009: A Hot Opportunity or Cold Comfort? report conducted by worldwide consulting and research firm Kline & Company, over half of the antifreeze and coolants sold to automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide for factory-fill can be attributed to Asia-Pacific alone.
“Global automotive manufacturing is moving to emerging economies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, making them benefit from this trend,” notes Upshi Dhar, Project Manager, Energy at Kline. “Vehicle manufacturing in Latin America increased at a rate of 10% from 2005 to 2008, while North America experienced a decline of 7% during the same time period. The number of vehicles manufactured in Asia-Pacific has also increased steeply at a rate of 7% from 2005 to 2008, making it the largest producer of automobiles. It is no surprise then that it has emerged to be the largest market for OEM factory-fill business for antifreeze and coolants.”
Globally, antifreeze and coolants are primarily ethylene glycol-based. Other than ethylene glycol, less toxic propylene glycol-based antifreeze and coolants are also being used in North America and Europe in niche applications. However, due to the high price and inferior freeze-protection, propylene glycol is still not widely used. Antifreeze and coolant manufacturers have been working on alternatives to ethylene glycol. Glycerin, due to its excess supply and low-cost, presents an attractive option.
There is an increasing interest in developing glycerin-based and blended products. For instance, Cummins has introduced “E S Compleat Glycerin” – a glycerin-based pre-diluted coolant for heavy-duty engines which does not contain any ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. In addition to this, ASTM is working on new specification – ASTM WK16003, for engine coolants containing 1, 3-propanediol (PDO).
The emerging economies of Asia-Pacific and Latin America will be the growth drivers in the antifreeze and coolants industry globally due to increasing vehicle production for domestic use and exports. Although increasing usage of long-life coolants in North America and Europe is shrinking the antifreeze and coolants market, the momentum towards environmentally friendly and high-performance products offers hope for the future.
Antifreeze and Coolants 2009: A Hot Opportunity or Cold Comfort? examines the global antifreeze and coolants market in terms of overall market size, market trends, product trends, and competitive landscape. It also provides Kline’s perspective on business attractiveness, outlook, and keys to success.